This race was my second full in a month! And yes, my Achilles is still injured BUT, it’s getting better. The knot has decreased in size and the pain has been bearable and some days, non-existent. This was a beautiful, mountainous, scenic course with a net elevation loss that is touted to be fast, but in all honesty, there’s plenty of uphills to offset it. The downhills look significant when you are driving the course, but on foot, they didn’t do much to help me.
I was able to run up through 16 miles before I had to incorporate some walking, which is better than Boston was last month. I took it smart and easy, so not to tick off my achilles. I’m also completely out of shape so I set a 4:30 finish goal for this marathon. (I set a sub 5:00 for Boston). Crazy, since my whole running career, I set my sights on sub 4:00’s and hated anything over that! It’s funny how your perspective changes in the face of injury or what could be a lifelong running setback! Jamie and I are enjoying our running journey of knocking off the 50 states and I’m very proud of him for running his second full marathon! We are both re-setting our focus’ and preparing to make our comebacks this summer, with our next state being Minnesota this fall! Oh…I made my first ever “pit-stop” in the weeds during the race. Let’s just say the one and only gel that I consumed did not agree with my stomach. I toughed it out as long as I could and never saw a porta-pot on the course aside from earlier on, so the first dirt road I saw, I veered off. Thankfully, this race only had less than 800 runners and I was near the back of the pack, so no one busted me!! The weather was picture-perfect too. It was in the upper 40’s at the start and low 70’s at the finish, partly cloudy with peeks of sun, the slightest breeze. The worst part was that after about 4 miles, they opened the roads back up to traffic so it was not pleasant having to run on the crumbling and uneven edges and dodging from road to edge…that might be what accounted for my extra distance on my Garmin. While my time agreed with my chip-time, the distance a good mile more! The finish was in front of a lumberyard in the small downtown of Kingfield and it was congested and tight with traffic, parked cars etc. That was the only place there was crowd support aside from the water stops along the course, making this a peaceful and serene run (aside from the semi trucks and cars that buzzed by us!)
The whole state of Maine has about the same population of Franklin County, Columbus, OH, so it is very clean and unspoiled. The mountain air was fresh and the altitude not bad enough to make it a struggle. We stayed in a gorgeous, new Bed & Breakfast that was right on the course and just a few miles from the ski resort where you pick up your packet and hit the busses for the start. All-in-all, a wonderful trip that included a scenic and long drive back via Canada. I’m happy to have Boston and Maine behind me now and am looking forward to faster and less painful running days ahead this summer and fall!